A Clear Plan Puts Students in Control of the Situation and Reduces Stress Levels

Sakshipost Exclusive Interview With Halp CEO Matthew McLellan

Many students fall victim to scams and take the wrong path because of the overwhelming amount of information available to them. Many students know what they want, but have difficulty figuring out how to get there, says Mr. Matthew McLellan, Co-Founder, and CEO of Halp in his interaction with Reshmi AR in a Sakshi Post exclusive. 

Tell us about the most sought-after countries and courses

Canada, the US, UK, and Australia are a few of the most sought after study abroad destinations. They all offer great educational opportunities, cultural experiences, and experiences students will never forget. Canada has become more and more popular due to it’s post-graduate work permit that allows students who’ve completed a 1-year degree to stay on an open work permit for 1 year after graduation and anyone who’s completed a 2+ year degree to stay on a 3 year open work permit. The classics like Business and Engineering are still extremely popular, however we are seeing a rise in courses that students can’t access in their home countries, specifically in social sciences and nursing. Students are more eager than ever to explore subjects that might not have been as popular in the past. 

Do you think students today are more aware than ever in terms of how to go about applying for a course abroad?

It is easier to access information on studying abroad, but it can be difficult to know what is correct or not. The internet is extremely beneficial for students to find study abroad resources and learn about the opportunities available to them. However, there is tons of inaccurate information. One thing our international experts at Halp do on a daily basis is debunk myths students have heard. Many students fall victim to scams and take the wrong path because of the overwhleming amount of information available to them. Many students know what they want, but have difficulty figuring out how to get there. That’s where Halp comes in! 

Which city in India has the most applicants for foreign education? 

In 2022 India surpassed China with the most students participating in foreign education. It’s difficult to name one city that has the most applicants, but a few of the big ones are Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, and more! One thing most people overlook are the students coming from rural areas as well. Studying abroad is not just an opportunity that students from big cities are taking advantage of. It’s projected that 2M+ Indian students will be studying abroad by 2024. 

What kind of preparation do you think students require before applying for a course?

Studying abroad is a dream for many students. However, only those with a proper study plan make it to the end. To combat the feeling of being overwhelmed, having a plan and breaking down the process into manageable tasks is essential. Making a checklist of everything a student needs to do prioritise tasks based on their importance and deadlines. A clear plan helps by putting students more in control of the situation and reducing their stress levels. To be objective it is worthwhile to note that although past academic performance is vetted, almost all of the universities have certain tests for qualification for admission; the most important being the IELTS (International English Language Testing System). It is crucial for individuals who want to pursue higher education or are looking for work opportunities in an English-speaking country. A comprehensive understanding of the test comes in handy before making the study plan. But, the IELTS aren’t the only test accepted abroad others include the PTE, TOEFL, and Duolingo. It is also advisable to look for scholarships or loans and work-study programs. 

Tell us about how Halp is helping students.

Halp is helping students by providing end-to-end support pre and post admission. From the get-go, we provide students with individual coaching to refine goals and establish a relationship. Our coaches live and studied in the destination countries where students are applying. Halp essentially does all the heavy lifting for students - from providing recommendations on top fit countries, schools, and programs to application feedback which increases the chances of acceptance to discovering financial support on students’ behalf to providing visa application support. Even post-admissions, Halp works with students in order to set-up their new life; including flights, phone plans, bank accounts, accommodation and more.

What's the fee for your services?

Halp is absolutely free for students. That’s the best thing. There is no upfront payments, no hidden fees, no payment for a coaches time - Halp will not charge its students a single dollar while they use the platform. Our amazing institution, financial, and corporate partners allow us to take the financial burden off of the student. The only fees students will incur while using Halp are the fees that are being charged by the institutions they apply to and we even try to get those reduced. Our philosophy has always been to help students save their money so they can afford to study abroad at their dream institution! We are the only company offering premium, end-to-end coaching for free.

What trends do you notice among students opting for higher education abroad?

2023 and 2024 will be an interesting time for studying abroad as they are first two full years that won’t be impacted by the pandemic. We’ve noticed that Australia has become an increasingly popular destination, although it has an intense visa process, the government has put effort into making education more affordable by offering lots of scholarships to international students. Health care is among the top job vacancies in the destination countries and students are noticing, nursing is an extremely sought after subject especially in Canada. Most students already studying abroad are looking for more urban campuses. Student’s who received proper support love their rural campuses, however many students were sold a dream by scammers and ended up in an institution they don’t enjoy, generally in a remote rural area. Although transferring to a more urban campus can be more expensive students are generally surrounded by more of a community and have greater job opportunities for both part-time work and full-time opportunities after graduation. 

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